Amid the rise in India's active COVID-19 cases, the Union Health Ministry has issued revised guidelines for international air travellers. The ministry has introduced two categories of guidelines, one specifically for passengers coming from Brazil, the UK, and South Africa, and another for rest of international air passengers.
The new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will come into effect from 23.59 hours on February 22 till further orders.
The Union Civil Aviation Ministry also informed the air passengers about the new SOPs, issued by the health ministry for international flights, and wrote, "Attention Travellers! To reduce the risk of importation of mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2, SOPs for International Passengers arriving in India have been updated. Make sure you take all the necessary precautions and follow all the guidelines while travelling".
Attention Travellers!— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) February 20, 2021
To reduce the risk of importation of mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2, SOPs for International Passengers arriving in India have been updated. Make sure you take all the necessary precautions and follow all the guidelines while travelling. pic.twitter.com/5lZtsk17Mv
General guidelines for all air travellers
- It is mandatory for all passengers travelling to India to submit their self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal (newdelhiairport.in) along with a negative RT-PCR report, conducted within 72 hrs of departure. Only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board the flight after the thermal screening. Passengers must also download the Aarogya Setu app.
- Arrival in India without negative report to be allowed to only those passengers who will be travelling in the exigency of death in the family. Passengers seeking exemptions in testing/quarantine protocols in case of death in the family should apply on the Air Suvidha portal.
- For those who have to take connecting flights, airlines should keep the passengers informed about the need for the transit time of a minimum of 6-8 hours at the entry airport (in India) for the required testing and other procedures while booking the tickets for connecting flights.
Specific guidelines for travellers from Brazil, South Africa, and UK:
- Airlines should identify and segregate such passengers (people coming from Brazil, South Africa, the UK, and Europe) in order to facilitate the authorities to follow the due protocol.
- Any air travellers from Brazil, UK, or South Africa if tested positive in any Indian airport should be subjected to the institutional quarantine and would be again tested on the seventh day (or early).
- If the report of the sequencing is consistent with the current SARS-CoV-2 virus genome, then home isolation, or treatment at the facility as per the severity of the case must be followed. However, if the genome sequencing indicated the presence of a new variant of coronavirus, then the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit.
- The patient will be tested again on the 14th day after testing positive and will be kept in an isolation facility till the sample tests negative.
- Besides, information regarding such passengers must be shared with the concerned state health authority. If any traveller is not traceable then such information should be notified to the Central Surveillance Unit of IDSP by the DSO.